Friend of Jesus:

John 15:14 & 15 and the Last Supper mark an important shift in the relation between Jesus and those who closely follow him and obey him. Jesus now says he will not call his close disciples “servants,” but friends, denoting an intimate and affectionate relationship. In John 15, Jesus tells the apostles that they, and we, are his “friends” (philos), if we do what he commanded us. In fact, he shows his apostles what he means, and proves to them that they are indeed his friends by telling them that he has told them what he heard from his Father—intimate communication that he would only tell his friends about. Jesus’ invitation to be his friend is not only here in the Gospel of John, it is in the book of Revelation. Jesus says, “Look!, I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). Anyone in the biblical culture would immediately understand that for Jesus to come in to a home and eat would mean there was a deep friendship between Jesus and the person.

What Jesus said at the Last Supper, very shortly before his arrest, has huge implications for Christians, because he was telling his disciples things that would define their roles and relationship after his resurrection and ascension. Jesus has now opened the door for us to be “friends” with him. And nothing could be of greater worth. No wonder Paul said that he counted all his worldly credentials as dung in comparison to “knowing” Jesus, that is, having a firsthand, experiential relationship, or “friendship,” with Christ!

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